Ready to go out? Try golf, but keep your distance
In these uncertain and trying times, it’s good to know that there are still things to count on.
All golf courses in the Tri-City area are still open Thursday afternoon.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee earlier this week announced measures to prevent groups of people from assembling, as the battle to stem the rise of COVID-19 continues.
Many of these prohibited situations involve indoor activity.
But outdoor activities, such as hiking, walking, exercising, are fine as long as people exercise common sense when it comes to social distancing.
Golf is one of these outdoor activities.
“The best thing about golf is that it’s wide open to the outdoors,” said Mike Lundgren, general manager of Canyon Lakes Golf Course in Kennewick.
As long as we practice social distancing:
• Do not share a golf cart with another golfer. Some courses only charge trolleys for one person (normally two pay for a trolley). Many people walk for exercise.
• Stay at least 6 feet from each other on the tee boxes.
• Do not take clubs from another golfer.
• Leave the flag on the green. Do not touch a common surface.
• Some courses say that if your ball lands in a sand bunker, play it like ground under repair, remove the ball so that no one uses the rake.
• Do not congregate in what is considered the gimme-putt area, ie anywhere the golf ball is a few inches to 3 feet from the cup.
• At the end of the round, on the 18th hole, do not shake hands. Do something else that doesn’t involve touching.
Thursday morning, all of Tri-City’s public courses – Canyon Lakes, Columbia Park Golf Tri-Plex, Columbia Point, Horn Rapids, Sun Willows, West Richland, and Zintel Creek – are still open. The same goes for Wine Valley at Walla Walla, a course that sees Tri-Citians as locals.
Each of them has its own restaurant or snack bar open for business, but only for take out orders.
No session in the restaurant area.
Safety on the course
All golf course owners follow strict safety policies.
Lundgren said Canyon Lakes has already canceled two golf tournaments, due to the nature of the tournaments resulting in too many people in groups.
“Some of our charity events are hopefully just postponed and can be played later this year,” Lundgren said.
Brad Rew, owner of Horn Rapids, emailed the audience reminding them of what his class does – like sanitizing doorknobs and common areas every two hours in the clubhouse.
The course took the GHIN computer offline – where players post their scores to adjust their handicaps – and recommended posting the scores to the GHIN app instead.
All courses have made a habit of cleaning golf carts after each use, so that they are clean before the next round.
Tom Bugbee is the COO of Course Co, a golf course management company in the San Francisco Bay Area that operates 38 golf courses – including Columbia Point in Richland, Sun Willows in Pasco and Columbia Park. Kennewick Tri-Plex Golf Course, as well as Pullman’s Ridge in Palouse.
“We have golf courses in six different states and we work with a variety of agencies,” Bugbee said. “Our standards follow the guidelines of the appropriate agencies.”
This includes the Bay Area, which has set up a shelter by order of the Governor of California. For example, a number of Course Co courses in Northern California are closed for a few weeks.
“We are doing everything we can,” Bugbee said. “We have added intense training and cleaning standards to all of our courses since early March. “
Bugbee has been asked to give advice to anyone looking to play golf right now, and every golf course owner has also said the same thing: “Maintain your social distancing. “
• A Tweet on Tuesday from the Tri-Cities Alliance football club: “The Tri-Cities Alliance FC will postpone testing for the 2020 season until further notice. More information will be announced after the first week of April regarding the 2020 season. The league has yet to cancel the season, but is delayed, so watch for updates.
The Alliance plays in the Evergreen Premier League.
• Kennewick High grad rookie Ryen Mullaly-Hawkins, a rookie in a red shirt, had the opportunity to see her first action of her college softball career while playing for Hawaii Pacific.
Mullaly-Hawkins, a receiver, appeared in 12 games with the 14-13 Sharks, going 1 for 12 with an RBI.
• In the Ed Boitano invitational track and field competition at the University of Puget Sound on March 7, Andraya Conger (Chiawana) of Pacific Lutheran University was fifth in the women’s 200 meters with a time of 27.89 seconds.
The senior PLU also placed seventh in the women’s 100 meters in 13.25 seconds.
Hanford High grad Porter McMichael was fifth in the men’s 1,500 meters. McMichael, who competes for Western Washington University, ran the event in 4 minutes, 6.24 seconds.
• The University of Jamestown baseball team was 17-5 when the season ended last week.
The University of North Dakota baseball team, which plays in the NAIA, has three Mid-Columbians on its roster: junior pitcher Cameron Jenkins (Richland), junior pitcher Gavin Petterson (CBC) and player of Junior infielder Luke Shekeryk (CBC) play for the Jimmies.
Jenkins made 9 relief appearances, a 2-0 record and one save. With 12.1 innings, he had 14 strikeouts.
Shekeryk was hitting 0.421, dropping 16 for 38, with 10 RBIs; and Petterson had two relief appearances.
• The WIAA announced last week that an employee of the WIAA 4A and 3A state basketball tournaments at the Tacoma Dome tested positive for COVID-19. This was announced on March 13.
On Tuesday, the WIAA announced that a spectator at the WIAA 2A and 1A state basketball tournaments in Yakima tested positive for COVID-19.
The spectator was there from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday March 7.
The WIAA informed all schools and those that were in close contact with the individuals in both cases.
• Kamiakin graduate Trystan Vrieling played five relief games this spring for the Gonzaga baseball team.
Vrieling pitched in 8.1 innings, striking out 5 batters. He had an outstanding 1.08 earned run average, and opposing hitters only hit 0.241 against him.
The Bulldogs have had a 6-10 start this season.
Jeff Morrow is the former sports editor of the Tri-City Herald.
This story was originally published March 19, 2020 2:47 p.m.